Tag Archives: accident prevention


Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Written By: Joseph Cescon and Bryan Sansom, Articling Student

Many Canadians are in the throes of winter and along with the bitter cold can come terrible driving conditions. During the winter months, our roads are covered in snow and ice. Conditions can be made worse by poor visibility and other hazards. As personal injury lawyers, we see a dramatic increase in serious injuries caused or contributed to by winter weather conditions. Fortunately, many of these accidents are preventable. Here are some tips to help you navigate the roads safely this winter season.

Equip your car with winter tires! Standard all-season tires are ill-equipped to perform on snow and ice for two reasons. First, the tread pattern on all-season tires is not properly designed to cut through the layer of snow or the water that sits on top of ice. This means your tire won’t grip the asphalt as effectively as it does in spring, summer and fall. Consequently, your vehicle will slide or hydroplane along the surface of snow and water which provides poor maneuverability and braking. Second, the type of rubber comprising all-season tires freezes at a higher temperature than that of winter tires. When a tire becomes frozen and rigid, less rubber makes contact the asphalt. Similar to having poor tread, rigid tires result in poor control and maneuverability.

Not only will winter tires help keep you safe, winter tires will save you money on your insurance policy.  Most insurers now provide policy holders a reduced monthly premium if their vehicle is equipped with winter tires.  However, motorists must be careful because this principle cuts both ways. For example, if you are in an accident but either misrepresented to your insurer that your vehicle is equipped with winter tires, or have simply failed to put them on your vehicle, your insurer may deny any claim for personal injury or property damage arising out of an accident.

Blog 02 - Winter driving photo

It is important to note that icy or snowy road conditions always impede your vehicle’s ability to stop as quickly as it can on a bare road surface. This may seem like common sense, but drivers often operate under the misapprehension that expensive tires, four-wheel (or all-wheel) drive systems, or anti-lock braking systems (ABS) render them invincible on snow and ice. As a result, they don’t modify their driving habits in accordance with driving conditions. Four-wheel drive systems neither allow you to stop any faster than two-wheel drive systems, nor do they necessarily allow the driver to negotiate corners or bends in the road any better than two-wheel drive systems. All other things being equal, vehicles equipped with ABS have an enhanced ability to stop as compared with vehicles which do not have ABS. However, the braking ability of a vehicle with ABS is still inferior to the braking ability of your vehicle on a clear, dry road. This is true no matter what make/model of vehicle you drive.

In order to compensate for your vehicle’s reduced ability to stop on snow or ice, it can be helpful to adopt a defensive driving style during the winter months. To the extent possible, allow for a greater distance between you and the vehicles around you, slow down well in advance of intersections, and use an abundance of caution when changing lanes or entering/exiting a highway. You cannot control the driving habits of other motorists. But the foregoing suggestions help provide a buffer between you and careless motorists, ultimately decreasing the likelihood of becoming involved in a dangerous collision.

Clearing the snow off your vehicle after a snowstorm is commonplace – you wouldn’t be able to see out windshield otherwise. However, don’t forget to clear the snow off the hood and roof of your vehicle as well. Snow may be suddenly blown from the hood onto your windshield, unexpectedly obstructing your view of the road. Snow on the roof may similarly blow off your vehicle and present an unexpected hazard to motorists in your vicinity. Failing to clear the snow off your vehicle is not only potentially dangerous, but it can be costly too. A Winnipeg motorist was recently issued a $240 ticket for carrying an “unsecured load” after failing to clear the snow off his vehicle’s roof following a snowstorm.

It is also a good idea to maintain a full tank of gas. The additional weight may provide a marginal increase in your vehicle’s traction. However, and more importantly, a full tank of gas allows you to power your vehicle’s heating system which will keep you and your passengers warm in the event that you get stuck and are forced to brave the elements.


John McLeish on Moose FM: Summer Boat Safety Tips

Summer has finally arrived, and for some this also means that it’s boating season. Boating is a great way to enjoy summer weather, however if you’re going to be out on the water this summer, there are some additional safety concerns that are vital to consider.

With many popular boating destinations just a short drive from Toronto, personal injury lawyer John McLeish shares some helpful boat safety tips and important information with Moose FM radio:

  • 1/3 water-related fatalities in Canada involve boating. Know the risks, and make sure to be aware at all times while operating a boat, sea doo or other vessel.
  • Most accidents happen during recreational activities. Always be mindful of your surroundings and put safety first, even while having fun on the water.
  • Although there are no no-fault benefits on the water and having boating insurance is not mandatory, your right to sue in a boating accident is the same as in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Anyone involved in an accident has the right to advance a claim and the right to fair compensation, for loss of income and the cost of future care.
  • Practice good water safety habits, including always wearing a life jacket while boating.

For more information, visit www.pialaw.ca.

Top Tips for a Safe Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and there will be a number of kids across Ontario going door-to-door trick-or-treating.

To avoid personal injuries McLeish Orlando is sharing a list of tips n’ tricks collected by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) for drivers, parents and kids to make sure safety and accident prevention is top of mind this All Hallows’ Eve.

• When pulling in or out of driveways stay alert to your surroundings.
• Avoid driving during the hours of 6-9 pm when most trick-or-treating takes place.
• Stay well below the speed limit and give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
• Do not use a cell phone while driving. Driving must be your main focus as a little trick-or-treater could pop out any time.
• Pay extra attention to what is going on around you. Be conscious of sidewalks and roadways and watch for any children darting across the street or in between parked cars.

• Replace your child’s mask with makeup to make sure that they have a clear, unobstructed view of their surroundings.
• Avoid costumes that have dark colors and that will go unnoticed by drivers. Instead choose bright colors, or add reflective tape.
• Accompany your child, or if they are old enough make sure they are with a group of responsible friends.
• Instruct children to stay on sidewalks where they are available, but if they must cross, to look both ways before walking across the street. They should check for cars, trucks and motorcycles
• If your community has no sidewalks, walking beside the road at night can be very dangerous – adult accompaniment and flashlights are a must, regardless of the child’s age.
• Halloween isn’t just for the young. If attending a party with the intention to drink plan ahead, make arrangements to get a ride with a designated driver or a taxi.

• Use a flashlight so you will see and be seen more easily.
• Costumes should be short enough to avoid trips and falls.
• Remember not to eat any of your candy until an adult at home has checked them over. Don’t eat candy that has already been opened.
• Stay out of dark areas. Keep to well-lit areas and only visit homes that have their outside porch lights on. Trick-or-treaters should not go inside homes.

Sources (IBC, CAA and Safe Kids Canada)